Oscar Scherer State Park

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Oscar Scherer State Park
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Oscar Scherer SP07.jpg
Map showing the location of Oscar Scherer State Park
Map showing the location of Oscar Scherer State Park
LocationSarasota County, Florida, USA
Nearest cityOsprey, Florida
Coordinates27°10′30″N 82°27′58″W / 27.17500°N 82.46611°W / 27.17500; -82.46611Coordinates: 27°10′30″N 82°27′58″W / 27.17500°N 82.46611°W / 27.17500; -82.46611
Area1,400 acres (5.7 km2)
Governing bodyFlorida Department of Environmental Protection

Oscar Scherer State Park is a Florida State Park located between Sarasota and Venice, near Osprey. The address is 1843 South Tamiami Trail. There are more than 250,000 visitors a year.[1][2][3]


The park's genesis was in 1955, when Elsa Scherer Burrows, owner of the 462-acre (1.87 km2) South Creek Ranch, died. Her will left the ranch to the state to form a park. It was to be dedicated to the memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, who had, in 1872, developed a shoe leather dyeing process. A year later, the park was ready and opened to visitors.[4]

Thirty years after that, realtor and environmentalist Jon Thaxton started work to protect the neighboring Florida scrub jay territory. In 1992 this resulted in 922 acres (3.73 km2) being added from the adjacent Palmer Ranch that had been among the holdings of Bertha Honoré Palmer, in large part due to the Nature Conservancy, public support, and the use of Preservation 2000 funds, expanding the park's size to 1,384 acres (5.60 km2).[5]

In September 2008, in recognition of National Public Lands Day, Lee Wetherington, a local developer and long-time park supporter, donated an additional 16.6 acres (0.067 km2) of land to the park, including the buffer property adjacent to the Willowbend subdivision (a Wetherington development), bringing the total park size to 1,400 acres (5.7 km2).[6]



The habitats that are part of the park are pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and the hardwood hammock surrounding South Creek. A variety of other plants exist within the park, like blueberry, persimmon, wild grape, cabbage palm, coontie, wax myrtle, prickly pear cacti, mangrove trees and giant leather ferns (Acrostichum danaeifolium).[7]


Land and aquatic inhabitants include bobcats, rabbits, foxes, North American river otters, American alligators, eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi), gopher tortoises and gopher frogs.

The park is one of the few places in the state where there are enough scrubby flatwoods for the Florida scrub jay to maintain a healthy population. Other birds that can be seen in the park are bald eagles, ospreys, warblers, woodpeckers, egrets, and the great blue and little blue heron.[8]

The 3-acre (12,000 m2) freshwater Lake Osprey has bream, bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish, among others. South Creek is brackish, so it can contain saltwater fish.

Recreational activities[edit]

The park has such amenities as beaches, bicycling, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking, snorkeling, swimming and wildlife viewing. It also has an interpretive exhibit and visitor center. The Legacy Trail, which runs on a former railroad route, also runs through and connects with the park.[9][10][11][12]


  1. ^ "Living Sanibel: Oscar Scherer State Park". Sanibel Captiva. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  2. ^ "Oscar Scherer State Park". www.abfla.com. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  3. ^ Walker, T. "Oscar Scherer State Park". State Parks. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  4. ^ Shank, Ann. "Burrow's Legacy Included Oscar Scherer State Park". Sarasota History Alive!. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  5. ^ "History". Florida State Parks. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  6. ^ "Lee Wetherington Companies Donates 16.31 Acres of Land to Oscar Scherer State Park". lwhomes.com.
  7. ^ Wallace, Hannah. "Essential Info for Enjoying Oscar Scherer State Park". Venice Magazine. SagaCity Media. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "Oscar Scherer State Park". Audubon. 2016-09-12. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  9. ^ "Oscar Scherer State Park | Visit Sarasota". www.visitsarasota.com. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  10. ^ "Trail Closings for Controlled Burn in Oscar Scherer State Park | Friends of The Legacy Trail". www.friendsofthelegacytrail.org. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  11. ^ Forsyth, Allison. "Let's Go for a Hike at Oscar Scherer State Park". Sarasota Magazine. SagaCity Media. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Oscar Scherer State Park is both a recreational park and a wildlife preserve". Escape to Sarasota. Retrieved 2021-11-05.

External links[edit]

Media related to Oscar Scherer State Park at Wikimedia Commons